Matthew 18

Class Action is a class act. It's a film about two lawyers who go head-to-head, both in court and in life. They are father and daughter...on opposite sides of a complicated case charged with the full spectrum of emotions.

It is the father-daughter interplay that gives the story its definition. During her early teen years her father was often on the road, busily engaged in various cases and crusades. During that impressionable era of her life, he was not only unfaithful to her mother, he was virtually out of touch with the family. The daughter's resentment of her father's lifestyle festered into full-blown competition, both privately and professionally. Nothing would please her more than winning that class-action suit in the courtroom...a perfect place to unleash her rage, to humiliate her father and retaliate on behalf of her mother, whom she idolizes.

Behind this brilliant woman's drive and accomplishments lie demons of bitterness. Unknown to the young woman, her soul awaits that moment when she can finally forgive her father...and be free.

What is true in the make-believe world of film is all the more true in the real world of life. Jesus Himself spoke of forgiveness on several occasions. Like the time Peter asked Him if forgiving someone "seven times" was sufficient. After all, that was over twice the going rate according to the Pharisees' teaching. To paraphrase Jesus' terse answer: "Would you believe 70 times seven?" In other words, an infinite number of limit.

Jesus then went on to point out that without forgiveness there cannot be freedom, and He told them the story of a man who, after having been forgiven an enormous debt, refused to forgive someone who owed him a measly 20 bucks. The man who would not forgive was called back before the king, who "handed him over to the torturers" (Matthew 18:34). That word means "inquisitors," conveying the idea of personal torment...internal torture. Jesus added: "My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart" (18:35).

We are most like beasts when we kill. We are most like men when we judge. We are most like God when we forgive.

Of all the actions you can carry out, that one is the ultimate class act.

Freedom and forgiveness both begin with the same letter.


Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.